Running On Real Estate for November 14

Karen Monroe

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

It's been said that sex sells. But does celebrity sell, too? Is celebrity a sexy enough reason to want to live in a home previously occupied by someone famous or where something noteworthy occurred? I suppose the answer varies depending on the individual. If we are star-struck, the answer is probably a big Hollywood yes. If we couldn’t care less about name-dropping scenes, then negative.

I grew up in a small, Southern California coastal community where the who's who of LA lived. Stars and their kids don't wow me. Their dogs, now that's another story. But my point is, celebrity is in the eye of the beholder. We all get excited if we are in close proximity to at least one category of celebrities, whether a super model, movie star, journalist, musician, athlete or politician. Take that to the next level – the possibility of living like they do – and that's something to get starstruck over.

Call it superstition, call it luck, call it whatever you want. But the excitement about living in a famous person's home might stem from the subconscious desire that their success will rub off on us. Whether we’re owning or renting, celebrity homes are a curiosity, if not a downright attraction. For the super private, the attention could be a liability.

The distinctive thing about famous people's homes is how they all differ. Overstated or understated, ridiculous or tasteful, celebrities are like us in that they have their own personal living style. Here in Brooklyn, celebrity sightings occur everywhere. And celebs live here, too. Brooklyn is like the anti-Hollywood to call home.

I don't know about you, but I'd certainly like to see Paul Giamatti's or Nora Jones' home in the Heights, or Anne Hathaway's pad in DUMBO. And then there are Barbara Walters, Katie Couric and other top journalists and notables who have apartments in Manhattan. Let's not even get started on The Dakota. It's a full-on tourist attraction.

Not that my budget would be sufficient to buy or rent any celebrity home, but as a real estate salesperson, I'd love to see, list or show their homes. Sexy or not, at the end of the day, celebrity sells.

On the Run

Size matters, especially when it comes to your home. If living in your home is getting cramped, and you're at a crossroads of "love it or list it," determining what's right for your family and lifestyle can be a tough decision. Here are a few signs you may have outgrown your home: the oven is out of commission because that's where you store the pots and pans or winter sweaters; door-to-door storage is a permanent fixture in front of your brownstone; removing the fireplace is the only way your family couch will fit in the living room; your bedroom closet is now your official home office; the kids take up too much space.

So what to do – renovate or move? Most of us are emotionally connected to our homes: we like our location and neighbors, and want to figure out how to stay put and expand our living space. Others are eager sell and find a larger place to call home.

To determine if a renovation is in the near future, and is the best use of your time and money, take a hard look at your financial situation. It’s all about the numbers. Consult your financial advisor to figure out what you can afford. Talk to an architect and contractor to discover how much your project will cost. Then evaluate your options.

If you are ready, willing and able to move out and move on, go for it. Contact your trusted real estate salesperson for help listing it, and finding the next property to love.

Karen Monroe practices real estate at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 156 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. She lives in the neighborhood and represents buyers, sellers and renters in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Karen can be found walking her dogs and running the parks, paths, streets and bridges of Brooklyn and beyond. For feedback and all of your real estate needs, contact Karen at

November 14, 2013 - 8:00am



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